Thursday, September 15, 2016

Stratton Park upgrades are coming

 Wednesday night, the parks department held a community meeting to discuss the upcoming improvements to Stratton Local Park and to get the neighborhoods input and suggestions. I counted 18 residents in attendance, 3 Parks people, and a representative from delegate Marc Korman.

Stratton Park is located just behind the firehouse on Democracy Blvd between Fernwood Rd and the I-270 Spur.  It has a soccer field, a baseball field, tennis courts, basketball courts, a playground and a picnic shelter, water fountain and grill.

The upgrades are to make the park comply with the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.  In 2008 the federal government evaluated Montgomery County and Montgomery County parks and found that they were not up to the ADA standards.  In August of 2011 the county reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) that identified 19 parks that needed barriers to access removed.  Stratton Park was one of the parks identified and is the last park in that group to be brought into compliance.

The main improvement will be a new sidewalk connecting the baseball field, parking lot, grills, picnic shelter, playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, and connecting to Democracy Blvd.  This sidewalk will not be lit at night and will not be permeable.

The old grill will be removed and two new grills (one of them ADA compliant) will be installed on the opposite side of the pavilion.

The parking lot will be kept the same size but re-configured to increase the parking spaces from 26 to 30.  Two of them will be handicapped spots.

There will also be several underground stormwater management areas to contain runnoff from the area and allow it to recharge the aquifer.  The speed bump will also be rebuilt to better divert water from the parking lot into a stormwater management area.

The port-a-potties will remain, but will get there own enclosure that is not part of the parking lot but near it.

Happening around the same time, but technically unrelated, the basketball courts and tennis courts will get revitalized.  This process usually takes a couple of weeks, then, if they paint the courts they have to wait for the asphalt to cure first so that adds another couple of weeks.

The residents who came to the meeting did have some suggestions:
  • Extend the sidewalk to the Surrywood Rd access path behind the baseball diamond.
  • Look at ways to increase safety at the entrance to the parking area (by installing sidewalks, speed bumps, or narrowing the entrance so people can't park in it).
  • Include an unpaved trail around the perimeter of the park's open area.
  • Situate the sidewalk connection to Democracy Blvd in a way that prevents children on bikes from riding straight onto Democracy, and see if there is a way to discourage people from jaywalking at that connection.

The parks department plans on starting this renovation later this year.  They may do the renovation in phases or may temporarily shut down the park.  This is a four month project, but due to winter weather constraints it is likely to impact the spring sports season.

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